Tisha B'Av. A Time to mourn                              To: Main Page                                     Home

Tisha B'Av or Tisha B’Ab (means "the ninth (day) of Av." It occurs in July or August.
The three week (21 days) period between Tammuz 17 and Av 9 or Ab 9 is called Bein HaMetzarim.
Av (Ab) is the 5th month (July and August) of the ecclesiastical year in the Jewish calendar
Tisha B’Av is a full fast day.


Tisha B'Av the saddest day in the Hebrew calendar
The ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av (Ab) has come to be known as Tisha B'Av. It begins at sunset on the eighth of Av and
ends at sunset on the ninth. It has come to be known as the saddest day in the Hebrew calendar.
Throughout Jewish history, the ninth of Av has been recognized as a day of tragedy. Tisha B'Av primarily commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples , both of which were destroyed on the ninth of Av - the first ( the First Temple built
by King Solomon) destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.; the second (the Second Temple built by Ezra and Nehemiah
and completed in 516 B.C) destroyed by the Romans in 70 A.D. Over time, Tisha B'Av has come to be a Jewish day of mour-
ning, not only for these events which are part of five misfortunes or calamities - On the ninth of Av it was 1)decreed that our
fathers should not enter the [Promised] Land because of their lack of faith, the Temple was destroyed 2)the first (586 B.C.)
and 3)second time (A.D.70), 4)Bethar was captured after the Romans crushed Bar Kokhba's revolt and 5)the city [Jerusalem]
was ploughed up by Turnus Rufus. Mishnah Ta'anit 4:6 - but it has also became a day of mourning for other other misfortunes or calamities that have befallen the Jewish people:
Jews were expelled from Spain by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella during the Spanish Inquisition (1492), mass deportation
of Jews from the Warsaw Ghetto, en route to Treblinka (1942), the beginning of World War I (1914), which presaged events
leading to the Holocaust. During the First Crusade, 10,000 Jews were murdered on Tisha B'Av (1095). Jews were expelled
from England on Tisha B'Av (1290) It is also said to be the day that Moses returned from Mount Sinai with the Ten Command-
ments and discovered his people worshipping idols. During the Holocaust, deportations from the Warsaw Ghetto to the Nazi Treblinka death camp began on Tisha B'Av (1942). More recently, the deadly bombing of the Jewish community center in
Buenos Aires occurred on Tisha B'Av (1994). The Gulf war started on the 9th of Tisha B'av, when Saddam Hussein went to war against Kuwait and in the months that followed proceeded to hurl his 39 missiles at Israel.

Restrictions or laws of Tisha B'Av
In addition to fasting during Tisha B'Av, observant Jews refrain from washing, working, drinking, smearing oneself with oil or
perfume, using electricity, shopping, wearing leather shoes and having sexual relations. Jews mark the day as they would
during a shiva, the Jewish period of mourning. Torah study is forbidden and Jews often bury old and damaged prayer books on
this day. Many Jews sit on low stools or sleep on the floor. They refrain from greeting visitors and read the scroll of Eicha (Lamentations). During the three weeks before this holiday, Jews are forbidden to marry. This period of mourning begins with another fast day, the 17th of Tammuz, when the Second Temple walls of Jerusalem were breached in 70 CE.

Tisha B'Av remains a day of mourning until the Messiah comes
Orthodox Jews believe that Tisha B'Av will remain a day of mourning until the Messiah arrives and the temple is rebuilt. At that
time, it will turn into a day of celebration forever. Although Reformed Judaism has never assigned this type of significance to the destruction of the temple, Tisha B'Av is still observed as a day to recall Jewish tragedies.
While Jews observe Tisha B'Av by looking backwards on the calendar, the holiday can have significant contemporary meaning. When fasting, Jews can comprehend the pain and suffering of destitute people around the world. This realization can be turned
into compassion and charity. Having been victims of genocide many times in the past, Jews can use this holiday as a time to aid contemporary victims of ethnic, religious, racial and gender persecution. Jews can also realize how fortunate they are compared with their ancestors. Although anti-Semitism is increasing today, Jews are not persecuted to the same extent as they were throughout history.

Survival of the Jews
Coming to terms with disaster is never easy. No race or religion has had more historical experience with disaster than the
Hebrew people have. Repeatedly, Jews have been conquered, enslaved, massacred, tortured and expelled. Somehow, despite
all efforts to destroy this tiny religion, Jews found a way to survive and even prosper. The Jewish people found a way to turn
disaster into survival and survival into a new nation, rebuilt over the crumbling rocks of the ancient Jewish kingdoms of David
and Saul.
It has been more than 2,000 years since the destruction of the temples in ancient Israel. During that time millions of Jews have been slaughtered by Greeks, Romans, the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition and the Holocaust. Despite the indignity of histo-
rical perspective, Jews continue to exist. They worship the same God, recite the same prayers, observe the same holidays and perform the same rites and rituals as their courageous ancient ancestors did. This astonishing chronicle of survival may be one
of the greatest legends of human history.

Tisha B'Av, a day to be grateful
Although Tisha B'Av is the saddest day of the Jewish calendar, it can also be considered, through careful reflection, as a day
to be grateful for the survival of the Jewish people. Despite civilization's persistent attempts to destroy Jews, this tiny, persistent religion has found a way to survive, prosper and contribute to the cultures of countless societies. In this regard, Tisha B'Av can
also be observed as a day to be thankful for the resilient endurance of the "chosen people." Always persecuted, never destroyed; the Jewish people march on through history, unabated, undeterred and ever grateful for the influence of their ancestors.

When is Tisha B’av?
Jewish Year 5773: Sunset July 15, 2013 – Nightfall July 16, 2013
Jewish Year 5774: Sunset August 4, 2014 – Nightfall August 5, 2014
Jewish Year 5775: Sunset July 25, 2015 – Nightfall July 26, 2015
Jewish Year 5777: Sunset August 13, 2016 – Nightfall August 14, 2016
Jewish Year 5778: Sunset July 31, 2017 – Nightfall August 1, 2017
Jewish Year 5779: Sunset July 21, 2018 – Nightfall July 22, 2018
Jewish Year 5780: Sunset August 10, 2019 – Nightfall August 11, 2019
Jewish Year 5781: Sunset July 29, 2020 – Nightfall July 30, 2020
Jewish Year 5782: Sunset July 17, 2021 – Nightfall July 18, 2021

Charles S. Weinblatt